Year of Publication


Document Type





Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

John A. Main


This dissertation examines the response of piezoelectric material strain to electron flux influence. A plate of PZT5h is prepared as the specimen. The positive electrode is removed, and the negative electrode is connected to a power amplifier. Sixteen strain gages are attached as the strain sensor. The specimen is placed in a vacuum chamber, then the positive side is illuminated by electron beam. The characteristic of the static strain response is predicted by deriving the equation strain/deflection of the plate. Two methods are used, the Electro-Mechanical Equations and numerical analysis using Finite Element Method. The settings of the electron gun system (energy and emission current), along with the electric potential of the negative electrode (back-pressure), are varied to examine piezoelectric material responses under various conditions. Several material characteristics are examined: current flow to and from the material, time response of material strain, charge and strain distribution, and blooming. Results from these experiments suggest several conditions control the strain development in piezoelectric material. The current flow and strain on the material is stable if the backpressure voltage is positive. As a comparison, the current flow is small and the strain drifts down if the backpressure voltage is significantly negative. The material needs only 1 second to follow a positive step in backpressure voltage, but needs almost 1 minute to respond to a negative step backpressure change. This phenomenon is a result of secondary electron emission change and the energy transfer from the primary electrons to the local electrons on the material. The time needed to achieve steady state condition is also a dependent of emission current. After a period of time the primary electron incidence induces strain throughout the 7.5-cm-by-5-cm plate despite the fact that the beam diameter is only 1 cm2. One possibility is blooming due to electron movement under intense electric fields in the dielectric material.